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Two Greek soldiers in Turkish custody are to be set free in the next hours

The two Greek soldiers, Mitretodis and Kouklatzis, in Turkish custody since March 1st are to be set free in the next hours. According to preliminary information, the unexpected move has surprised also the soldiers’ lawyers who were supposed to submit one more release request. Τhe news was first reported by Turkish media, short after 7 o’ clock Tuesday afternoon – by 7:30 the news is also confirmed by Greek Foreign and Defense ministries sources.

Aggelos Mitretodis and Dimitris Kouklatzis may leave Turkey and not wait for a trial.

The two Greek soldiers will be transferred from the high security prison in Edirne to the local Migration Department of Police and from there to the Greek-Turkish borders.

This is expected to happen either on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

A Turkish court ruled that they do not need to be in Turkey until their trial for illegal entrance.

According to Turkish media, thorough investigation in the mobile phones of Kouklatzis and Mitretodis proved that they were found “clean”, that is the two had not filmed or shot pictures from the forbidden military zone which they accidentally crossed due to severe weather conditions.

Greek sources say that they will not even need to return to Turkey for their trial and that they could be tried in absentia.

The soldiers’ release is truly unexpected and Greek media link the decision to US pressure on Turkey.

Washington has put immense pressure and even sanctions on Turkey for the release of US pastor Andrew Brunson.

According to latest media information, the Prime Minister airplane will pick up the two soldiers in Edirne at 1:00 a.m. Wednesday and fly them to Thessaloniki, Northern Greece. A few minister siwll be onboard to secure the two  Greek soldiers who spent 167 days in Turkish custody and without pressed charges come home in safety.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras hailed the release tweeting: “I want to congratulate and thank our two officers and their families for their vigor, patience and confidence in the efforts of all of us, that have finally been justified. Angelos and Dimitris, happy return to the homeland.”

Defense Minister Panos Kammenos made no comment just posted on Twitter an icon of Virgin Mary, the Releaser.

One should note that Tuesday is the eve of one of the biggest celebrations in Greece, the Dormition of Virgin Mary.

The arrest of the two Greek soldiers has worsened relations between Greece and Turkey that are tensed due to Ankara’s aggressive foreign policy.

In a second Tweet, Tsipras wrote: “The release of the two Greek soldiers is an act of justice, which will help to strengthen friendship, good neighborliness and stability in the region.”

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